A question I have been pondering over the past few decades is what are the essential teachings of Christianity? What does a Christian have to believe to be a representative of Jesus Christ?
What MUST I believe to be saved?
There are Five essential teachings:
1. The Bible is the word of God. If a person does not believe the Bible is a product of divine revelation they have no basis to believe in Christ or God’s plan of salvation. The gospel becomes speculation and myth and Christ cannot be the object of genuine faith.
2. The Trinity. One God existing in three distinct forms and personalities. If someone were to pull the plug on God then all three persons would disappear in an instant. God has revealed Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The human brain cannot fathom the complexities of God, but this is how God has revealed Himself. Jesus is fully divine and as eternal as God the Father, but with His own distinct function and role in the God head. To deny the full divinity of Christ is to deny the one and only true God.
3. The Blood Atonement of Jesus. Jesus died in our place on the cross of Calvary. This is the central doctrine of Christ and the Apostles. It does not take a Ph.D. in theology to understand and God does not require a five page essay on the person and work of Christ on the cross to be born again. However, this is a basic truth that must be accepted: Jesus died in our place for our sins. Without the cross there is no resurrection, no Christianity, no salvation for humanity, and no basis for our faith as Christians.
4. Righteousness by Faith. What does God require of us to have the assurance of salvation? God demands we accept Jesus as the full substitute for our sins. There is no condition for salvation other than simple faith and trust in our divine savior. We are declared righteous the instant we place our faith in Jesus. Warning: We deny Christ when we worship other Gods or if we pervert the truth of the Gospel–Righteousness by Faith Alone.
5. The Second Coming. To be a Christian we must believe Jesus is coming back to provide eternal life for His followers. It is not essential that Christians agree on when and how the second coming will occur. However, the second coming is an integral part of the plan of salvation. To deny the reality of the second advent would be to deny a major promise that Christ proclaimed to His disciples–He would return to earth to set up His kingdom. Jesus will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all eternity.
All Christians must accept these five major teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. These are non-negotiable teachings of the Bible that are simple enough for any Child to understand. They also leave us with a complexity of understanding, depth of knowledge, and profound thought that will never be fully exhausted by an eternity of study.
Stephen Beagles (2020)